Property rights are fundamental to the prosperity of any economy. Without predictable and enforceable property rights, individuals and businesses cannot receive a return on economic activity. Property rights are also strongly correlated to GDP per capita and foreign direct investment inflow. For individuals, strong property rights provide a necessary bulwark against government intervention in one’s life.
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy has released its inaugural Canadian Property Rights Index to evaluate property rights protections across the 10 provinces and three territories. The Canadian Property Rights Index was inspired by the International Property Rights Index, produced by the Washington, D.C.-based Property Rights Alliance.
Property rights are evaluated along eight indicators: Registering/transferring property, expropriation, land use planning/constructive takings doctrine, civil forfeiture, municipal power of entry, heritage property, endangered species, and wills and successions.
The results reveal property rights are precarious throughout Canada. Granting sweeping discretion to provincial and territorial governments over property rights leaves Canadians unprotected. For example, on expropriation, most provinces and territories grant municipalities powers to expropriate for “most municipal purposes.” The results also reveal the public needs to become more vigilant about property rights and demand their governments stop over-regulation and commit to providing timely compensation where rights are infringed.
The pattern, with notable exceptions, reveals more robust property rights protections in the Western provinces as opposed to the eastern ones, with the exception of Nova Scotia. With the exception of Nunavut, there is also a north-south divide in property rights.
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